Skip to comments.This Day In History Civil War July 17, 1864 John Bell Hood takes command of the Army of Tennessee
Posted on 07/17/2005 5:21:03 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
This Day In History | Civil War
1864 John Bell Hood takes command of the Army of Tennessee
On this day, Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaces General Joseph Johnston with John Bell Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Davis, impatient with Johnston's defensive strategy in the Atlanta campaign, felt that Hood stood a better chance of saving Atlanta from the forces of Union General William T. Sherman.
For nearly three months, Johnston and Sherman had maneuvered around the rugged corridor from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Although there was constant skirmishing, there were few major battles; Sherman kept trying to outflank Johnston, but his advances were blocked. Though this kept losses to a minimum, there was also a limit to how long Johnston could maintain this strategy as each move brought the armies closer to Atlanta. By July 17, 1864, Johnston was backed into the outskirts of Atlanta. Johnston felt his strategy was the only way to preserve the Army of Tennessee, but Davis felt that he had given up too much territory.
In a telegram informing Johnston of his decision, Davis wrote, "ýyou failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of Atlanta, far in the interior of Georgia, and express no confidence that you can defeat or repel him, you are hereby relieved from command of the Army and Department of Tennessee, which you will immediately turn over to General Hood."
Davis selected Hood for his reputation as a fighting general, in contrast to Johnston's cautious nature. Hood did what Davis wanted and quickly attacked Sherman at Peachtree Creek on July 20 but with disastrous results. Hood attacked two more times, losing both and destroying his army's offensive capabilities.
How can this be? I thought that Sherman was a war-criminal who didn't know a thing about fighting a real war. Hmmm...
Davis let his personal feelings affect too many of his decisions when it came to his generals.
Sherman must have gotten a huge smile on his face when his scouts reported that Hood was going to attack.
yeah and by that time he was losing it both on the field (even though Lee was managing in the East, the war wasn't going that great elsewhere) and at home......
The Confederacy lost the war in the west.
Yep and the Union WON it in the East....
If Grant doesn't grind down Lee like he did and I am CERTAIN Meade wouldn't have, the Confederacy would have held on longer....
No doubt. Meade wouldn't even attack Lee after Gettysburg when the latter was still on the wrong side of the Potomac.
Yep and you KNOW Grant would have caught up to him just south of Hagerstown, MD or maybe even would have attacked directly after Pickett's charge in Pennsylvania...
So many different scenarios.....
yep pretty much...
Have you read any of Newt's Gettysburg books?
but I did skim through one at a Walden Books store the other day...
I don't have the time right now :)
I just can't get this math homework to work out right now so I am taking a break on FR :)
I've fallen behind on some of my reading as well due to work. Newt's books are worth the time if you get some.
another 3 weeks and then it's break time woohoo!! :)
Today was my first day off in a while and I'm going to be working a lot more this week. I'm going to need a break at some point.
my birthday is the 9th and I am taking that entire week off after Monday...
I can't wait....
It was, indeed just what Sherman wanted:
"About 10 A.m. of that day (July 18th), when the armies were all in motion, one of General Thomas's staff-officers brought me a citizen, one of our spies, who had just come out of Atlanta, and had brought a newspaper of the same day, or of the day before, containing Johnston's order relinquishing the command of the Confederate forces in Atlanta, and Hood's order assuming the command. I immediately inquired of General Schofield, who was his classmate at West Point, about Hood, as to his general character, etc., and learned that be was bold even to rashness, and courageous in the extreme; I inferred that the change of commanders meant "fight". Notice of this important charge was at once sent to all parts of the army, and every division commander was cautioned to be always prepared for battle in any shape. This was just what we wanted, vis, to fight in open ground, on any thing like equal terms, instead of being forced to run up against prepared intrenchments; but, at the same time, the enemy having Atlanta behind him, could choose the time and place of attack, and could at pleasure mass a superior force on our weakest points. Therefore, we had to be constantly ready for sallies."
--W.T. Sherman, "Memoirs" 1875
It is really easy to make decisions and be a General when your enemy WANTS to come at you or you KNOW they have orders to do so.
It was the best news he could have received.
Hood did his usual bang-up job.
July 22, 1864
Estimated casualties: 12,140 (3,641 Union, 8,499 Confederate)
"On September 1, after a long siege by Sherman's soldiers, Atlanta is evacuated and Hood withdraws, regroups, and advances into Tennessee. Within three months his Army of Tennessee is virtually destroyed in battles at Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville."
Estimated Casualties: 8,587 total (US 2,326; CS 6,261)
Estimated Casualties: 6,602 total (US 2,140; CS 4,462)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.